When you sustain injuries in a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to sue that person for personal injury. But how much can you expect to receive if you win your lawsuit? The answer to that question depends on several factors, including the following:
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether you were partially to blame for the accident
- The amount of insurance coverage the defendant has
- The willingness of the insurance company to pay you a fair settlement amount
- The state and area within it where you live
- The typical jury awards for cases similar to yours
When you hire a personal injury lawyer to file a lawsuit on your behalf, you ask for compensatory damages, that is, an amount to adequately compensate you for both your economic and noneconomic losses. Various states apply various names to these damages, and your attorney can explain those to you, plus advise you of how much you can reasonably expect to receive for each.
It’s fairly easy to calculate the amount of your economic damages. They represent your actual financial expenses arising from your accident, such as the following:
- Ambulance transportation from the accident scene
- Hospital expenses
- Follow-up doctor and nurse expenses
- Prescription medication expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Physical therapy expenses
- Medical equipment expenses, like for crutches, a walker, a wheelchair, etc.
Your economic damages also include your loss of income while recuperating. Likewise keep in mind that they include not only your expenses and income loss to date, but also those you can reasonably expect to sustain in the future. An experienced personal Injury lawyer, like one from Daniel E. Stuart, P.A., is there to walk you through the process of getting your life back.
Your noneconomic damages are more difficult to determine because they represent your subjective losses, such as the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
- The loss of one of your limbs
- Your embarrassment over your disfiguring scars
- Your loss of feelings of self-worth and self-esteem over having to use a wheelchair or prosthesis to get around
- The loss of your ability to fully care for yourself or engage in the sports and other activities you enjoyed prior to your accident
- The loss of your ability to enjoy life as fully as you did prior to your accident
Your lawyer can be of immense help in valuing these losses based on his or her prior experience in handling cases similar to yours.
In rare circumstances, you may also be able to collect punitive damages in addition to your economic and noneconomic damages. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages and they serve as punishment for the defendant. Punishment is different from compensation because it’s meant to deter others from committing similar offenses. For example, if a car manufacturer produced an unsafe car that caused someone harm, punitive damages would be added on top of the other types of financial awards available. The monetary amount isn’t always set by law, but can be determined by a jury or judge depending on how much the defendant deserves to be punished based on their actions against the plaintiff.